By Aaron Recuenco
Police killed a suspected kidnapper and arrested four others in simultaneous raids in Caloocan City and Bulacan against a big kidnap-for-ransom group tagged as responsible in various cases of unreported abduction of officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said that a thorough investigation will be conducted to identify police and military personnel who are allegedly connected to the group.
“We have been monitoring this group for over a year because this is a group which is allegedly involved in the kidnapping of BIR officials,” said Eleazar.
He identified the suspected slain kidnapman as 41-year old Leo dela Fuente who allegedly traded shots with policemen in a raid in the house of a certain Joever Garcia on Aster Street, Residencia Regina, Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan at around 2 a.m. Thursday.
Seized during the raid were eight firearms which include two M16 rifles, a hand grenade, three vehicles, and uniforms and other police accessories.
Eleazar said that four other raids were conducted at the same time: two in Caloocan City and two more in Marilao and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan.
During the raid in the house of Romeo Manalastas at Sta. Rita Phase, Deca Homes, Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan, police seized a handgun, several bullets and magazines for various firearms that include some for M16 rifle, handheld radio and police cap and jacket.
In a raid in another house of Garcia, in Barangay Muzon in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, authorities confiscated a hand grenade, a shotgun and a motorcycle.
Three people were arrested in the area and identified as Rosalinda Garcia, Christine Joyce Garcia, and Joseph Nicholas Garcia Jr.
Eleazar said that during the raid in the house of Lloyd Antonio in Sikatuna Avenue in Urduja Village in Caloocan City, his men seized a handgun and arrested 75-year old Julieto Tering, a retired government employee.
In a raid in another house of Manalastas, seized were two hand grenades, a 45. Pistol and police accessories.
Eleazar said that they started working on the group after receiving reports of the series of kidnappings involving BIR officials, especially in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The problem, according to Eleazar, is that the kidnapped BIR officials would not report the incident to the police.
“There are reports that the ransom involves millions of pesos,” said Eleazar.
He explained that they are having difficulty gathering information on the group because of the dearth of details since almost all of the victims would not report.
Aside from BIR officials, the group are also targeting businessmen.
What is particular about this group, according to Eleazar, is that the transaction only last for one day at most.
“There is no prolonged negotiations. After they would take a victim, negotiations would immediately follow as well as the ransom payment,” said Eleazar.
This makes the group difficult to locate and bust.
COPS, SOLDIERS BACKERS
Eleazar said that the usual modus of the group is to accost a victim for possible violation of the law using bogus police uniforms and police accessories.
The proof, he said, was the confiscation of police uniforms and other materials belonging to the PNP.
“They have police and military members. We believe that some of these policemen and soldiers were already dismissed from the service, went on AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave) and some could be retired,” said Eleazar.
“We also believe that some of the members could be active policemen,” he added.